and 27 February 2017: Visit to Stanmore Country Park and Pear Wood 1:
clearance in preparation for flail cut of Central Glades
I reviewed and marked stumps in
the rides and central glades
1. Dragon ride from south to north
Once we have removed the stumps that have already been dug up the flail
and collection rake can come in behind the picnic table up to this
line, which is just south of the old field boundary berm. The red line
in the image below (17022212 annotated.jpg) shows the limit of where
the flail can cut - a line from an obvious stump that we have not
removed to a young oak just south of an ivy covered tree. This is
approximately the point at which the dominant vegetation becomes, to
the north of the line, nettles.
From this point up to where the ride opens out into the small glade
have to brush cut by hand. I determined the exact line beyond which one
could use tractor flail and collect on 23rd August 2017. Looking south
from within the grassy glade the ground is
stump-free and even well into the narrower neck, as shown:
The boundary should run as a straight line from a small but full sized
elm on the eastern side (image on left below) to a smaller elm on the
western side with prominent branches leaning out at 45% (image on right
below). This is roughly the limit of the nice grass, south of this line
the vegetation (in 2017) is ranker and dominated by nettles and
All stumps within the grassy glade have been removed.
Up at the north end the area flailed and raked needs to have a straight
edge on the west side, from one log pile to another, to avoid stumps as
per image below (17022701 annotated):
Then at the north end of the grassed area stop at a line between the
oak with lots of lower
branches cut off and the birch, as per image below (17022702
annotated). Non-removed stumps begin on (ringed) and
The section north of here may not need cutting every year; in
2016 Peter Elton did it with his DR Trimmer.
2. Gas main ride from west to
South of the path will be left to be cut manually. North of the path
has been cleared of stumps.
Note added in August 2017: There's a significant area at the Dragon
Ride/Gas main ride junction that is full of stumps and will have to be
cut manually. However east of a bramble barrier at the juntion the
whole ride is, following local and TCV working parties in
August/September 2017, pretty much clear. There's one large stump at
the eastern end, close to the berm, that would have to be avoided.
3. Upper Blue Pond Field and
the old trackway
The vast majority of the area was fully cleared of old stumps on Feb.
2016. The stumps of the two trees that I felled in 2016 remain and will
There are stumps in the triangle formed by two oaks and the waymarker
bollard, as in image below (17022705
annotated). This should be done by hand. There are also some low stumps
that I missed in the area marked X. I'd suggest letting the flail and
rake have a go at area X and only if
they complain doing it by hand.
There is a pair of stumps remaining on the north side - my backpack is
between them in the image below (17022704). They are pretty close to
and I'd suggest letting the flail and rake have a go at it and only if
they complain doing the triangle formed by the three trees by hand. To
the right of the image below is the stump of one of the trees felled in
2016; that is still there and will need to be avoided.
At the boundary between Upper Blue Pond Field and
the old trackway
the steep part of the berm (bottom left of the image below) should be
done by hand; the slope is steep and there
are several big stumps at the top of the berm, digging these out would
damage the old field boundary. Image below is "17022201 annotated.jpg".
The whole of the old trackway open area can be flailed
and raked, up to the line shown in the image below (17022210
annotated.jpg). This will damage a few ant nests at the southern end
but they can be sacrificed.
4. John Hall's Field
All stumps in the area east of the north - south path have been removed
so that the area up to the prominant oak (oak 48) can be flailed and
All stumps in the area south of the east-west path have been removed so
area up to the line in the image below ("17022211 annotated.jpg") - a
line from the larger oak to a gorse bush - to be flailed and
raked. This leaves the area with almost all the ant nests, north of the
east-west path, to be cut by hand.
The southwest corner of John Hall's Field - where it says "flail and
rake" in the image below - is pretty hummocky but all stumps have been
removed. I hope that the flail will flatten it a bit and it can be
raked, we'll just have to see.
and collect, and brush cut and rake, August/September 2017
The cut was done on Wednesday August 30th. 6 Acre Field and the
Northwest Grasslands were done with the big machine that cuts neatly
and produces nice rows of arisings. The driver was Mick, phone 07850
032 814. (I have not checked the Northwest Grasslands yet). He also did
Newton Farm and Roxbourne Rough the day before and is very expert and
helpful. Then Oliver Peters came in the afternoon and cut the Central
Glades with a smaller machine that did a less neat job. All the areas
as listed above that I had hoped could be done by machine were indeed
done, with no problems, although in some places where the ground was
uneven the flails scalped the ground completely, leaving bare patches.
The arisings from the Central Glades were collected later in the week
and the result is not perfect but will do. When the TCV raked the brush
cut areas on September 4th I raked up a few soggy bits on the
mechanically cut area of John Hall's Field that had been left behind.
If it had not rained during and after the cut the collection in
the Central Glades might well have been better.
40 Acre Field was not cut. The cattle are doing a fine job of keeping
the grass low.
I brush cut the northwest section of John Hall's Field on
August 30th and September 2nd and the TCV raked the area on September
4th. I cut through the bracken at the
northwest corner to create a smooth edge; this left a lot of bracken
uncut at the corner, behind and to the right of the birch tree in this
I could cut this bracken patch at another time if there looks to be a
danger of it becoming scrub.
I did not cut the northeast section of John Hall's Field, north of oak
48. Most of this area, dominated by ant nests, was short grass and
herbs and did not need to be cut. The eastern margin of this area,
where we recently cut down a bramble bush, does need to be cut sometime.
An area not described in any of the above is John's ride. In particular
this widens to a small grassy field at its southern end, which
has in the past been cut by scythe by Peter Elton. This needs brush
cutting some time to keep the bramble down, but it is not urgent.
I spoke to Mick on Friday September 8th. Collect has not yet been done
at Northwest grasslands or Scout's Field - will do as soon as it is dry
enough. However he has not and does not intend to collect from the
Central Glades - "Oliver says there are stumps there". So in future if
I continue with tractor cutting - and I think we have to, I cannot
brush cut it all on my own - we should timetable an extra one or two
working party days immediately after the cut - which means a few days
after the August bank holiday - and rake the tractor cut areas by hand.
However on September 19th I noticed that the amount of arisings
on the Central Galdes was a lot less than I'd expect if there had been
no collection at all. I emailed Oliver about this and he replied "Yeah
Mick went in and collected what he could, he was having trouble with
the uneven ground. He did as much as the machine aloud him without
damaging it." The volunteer team on September 18th raked up
the worst of the wet grass left behind.
In contrast I noticed on September 26th 2017 that Cloisters Meadow had
not been raked at all, I emailed Oliver about this, hopefully he will
arrange collection before the weather turrns wet.